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Are Primary Schools Ready For The New Language Curriculum?

While the inclusion of compulsory language learning within the 2020 National Curriculum for primary schools was not unexpected, and is in fact celebrated, it has put pressure on schools to prepare.

In theory, introducing language learning across Key Stage 2 is a great idea but in practice it will require a great deal of dedication and preparation from primary staff who need to ensure that their school will be ready to provide the teaching expected. You can also choose the best amity international school in Amsterdam.

Language teaching at Key Stage 2 has never been compulsory before, and while the majority of primary schools have incorporated language learning, the level at which this has been done varies dramatically from school to school.

Some schools have a rigorous structure in place with native speakers or fluent teachers while others have done little more than introduce children to some key, basic vocabulary through songs and games.

This gap in the standard of language teaching in schools means that some will have much further to go to bring their schools in line with the new curriculum in time, especially given how structured and specific the new programme is.

While some schools will find adapting to it fairly straightforward especially if they have been teaching grammar and written skills up until now, other schools may find this somewhat daunting.

First and foremost, schools need to address the lack of suitably trained teachers and make sure that their language staff members are qualified and ready to teach a curriculum that pushes pupils. Ironically, this will be hard to do as over the last few years, the uptake of foreign languages in UK schools has been declining, a fact which the new primary curriculum hopes to address.

Supposedly universities and colleges are trying to address the problem by promoting languages but it is evident that the gap in expertise will take a while to fill. In the meantime, primary schools are having to do whatever they can to make sure pupils have a teacher with sufficient language capabilities.

In some schools, this has meant hiring a specialist who works with pupils across the whole school, whatever age range, while others have employed native speakers from the community to work alongside their primary teachers. Another approach is to employ secondary school staff with experience of teaching languages to run training sessions with primary teachers.